Keeping up with the latest beauty releases without breaking the bank can be a feat in itself…
If you’re already on your way and getting PR samples left and right, then congrats! However, if you’re just starting out and trying to grow your blog, accumulating enough products to keep your content consistent and fresh may not come so easily. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to grow your beauty collection and blog overall, with almost no investment. Here are 8 of my personal tips and tricks on how to beauty blog on a budget:
1) Start with the Oldies (But Goodies)
Beauty blogging isn’t always about reviewing the latest and greatest releases. It’s also about discussing the products you’re most passionate about, so why not start with your current stash? Even old favorites that have been around for years can bring in traffic. (I posted a NARS blush review years after it had released, and still get hits on it through Google searches.)
2) Sign-up for Monthly Subscriptions
A great way to quickly accumulate beauty products to review (including newer releases) is by subscribing to at least one or two monthly beauty boxes. There’s no problem reviewing samples, and you usually get enough product to test them out for several uses (and maybe weeks). Nowadays, there are so many available, most in the $10 range.
Into clean, green, and vegan beauty? Try Petit Vour or the Vegan Cuts Beauty Box. Love the latest in prestige cosmetics, try out Sephora play (US), Birchbox (US & UK), or Glossybox (US & UK). For more budget friendly picks, check out the Ipsy GlamBag. For nail polish, there’s a box for that too, called Julep Maven.
3) Go Sample Hunting
Another great way to try out lot of beauty products without breaking the bank is by picking up samples online or in stores. Yes, I know having the actual full-size product looks great for photos, but it’s not always practical to keep buying the latest products just for reviews. Instead, samples sizes let you review more products (or shades if that’s what you’re looking for) for much less.
For green beauty lovers, there are lots of online shops that offer samples at a small cost (because green beauty brands they aren’t as widely available in stores, samples are easy to find online!). For more mainstream beauty brands, stores like Sephora, Ulta, and even department stores will typically let you pick out a few samples (both online with purchases, and for free in stores).
4) Visit Your Nearest Beauty Store
Want to cover the latest beauty releases (swatches and all) without spending hundreds? If you have an Ulta or Sephora nearby (or equivalent), head over there and go swatch crazy! (The types of posts can be extremely valuable/popular online, especially to anyone who doesn’t live close to a mainstream beauty store and needs some help color matching.)
Before you go, ask one of the employees to do a quick makeup application (or simply ask for a sample) if you’re looking to share a more comprehensive review, including before and after photos.
5) Reach out to Brands Directly
One way to get full-size products without spending any money is by joining affiliate programs (ShareASale is my favorite). Explore the participating beauty brands, apply to the ones you’re interested in, and then send them a quick message through the affiliate platform. A lot of the brands recognize the fact that product reviews have a good chance for conversions, so they’re likely to help you out (some will even contact you first).
Another way to try out sample products is to cold email brands. Try to find their PR or marketing person’s email if possible. However, if you can’t find that, simply email the one listed on their website, or use their contact form.
In both scenarios, when you write out your message, be sure to include a brief background around your blog and audience (links and stats are also helpful), along with a quick sentence on why you’re interested in trying out their products. Conclude by letting them know that if they’re able to provide complimentary samples, you’d be happy to do a review on your blog.
6) Look for Blogger Programs on Brand Websites
Some websites will have a little link in their footer specifically for bloggers who want to apply to receive their products for free. Scentbird (a perfume subscription service), for example, has a ‘For Bloggers’ page where you apply to try out their service for one month. Red Apple Lipstick, a green beauty brand, offers free products in exchange for a review through their program. And finally, Beauty Box 5 offers their subscription box for free to qualified bloggers. These are just a few examples, but the point is, now that brands are realizing the value of influencer marketing, they’re more than happy to offer products in exchange for what is essentially free marketing for them.
7) Join Influencer Networks
Another way to get full-size beauty products for free is through one of the growing influencer networks, created specifically to provide bloggers with products in hopes of a review/social share. Some networks include Influenster, Brandbacker, Shopping Links, Social Berry, and Octoly.
8) Beauty Isn’t Everything, so Mix It Up!
Just because you’re a beauty blogger, it doesn’t mean you only have to post about beauty. Instead, give your readers a snapshot into your life, hobbies, travels, outfits, recipes, etc. every once in a while. (You can even keep that section separate so as not to distract your followers from your main goal, just like Youtuber’s do with their separate vlogging channels.) In my opinion, this makes you more memorable and ultimately helps you connect on a deeper level with your followers. Plus it’s a great way to experiment, and even expand your blog into new areas as it grows.
Are you a blogger (beauty, fashion, tech, food, travel, etc)?
What are some ways you keep your content fresh and consistent, while staying within a budget?